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Katherine Helmond Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (4)  | Trivia (13)  | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Galveston, Texas, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (Alzheimer's disease)
Birth NameKatherine Marie Helmond
Height 5' 2" (1.57 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Katherine Marie Helmond was born on July 5, 1929, in Galveston, Texas. After her parents divorced, she was raised by her mother, Thelma (nee Malone) Helmond, and her maternal grandmother, both of Irish Catholic descent. She attended Catholic school, and appeared in numerous school plays and pageants. She took a job at a local theater while still in high school, hammering and sawing the scenery, cleaning the bathrooms and pulling the curtain.

After her stage debut in "As You Like It", she worked in New York theatres during the 1950s and 1960s. She operated a summer theatre in the Catskills for three seasons and also taught acting in university theatre programs. She made her TV debut in 1962 but had to wait another 10 years until her breakthrough came in the 1970s. She stayed busy on TV as well as on stage and earned a Tony nomination for "The Great God Brown" (1973) on Broadway. She honed her acting abilities with Alfred Hitchcock in Family Plot (1976) and in numerous TV series, notably in ABC's cult sitcom Soap (1977), for which she had four Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe. On the big screen she starred in Brazil (1985) as Jonathan Pryce's mother who is addicted to plastic surgery and snooping in her son's messed-up life.

In 1983 she studied at the Directing Workshop of the American Film Institute and then directed four episodes of the series Benson (1979) as well as episodes of Who's the Boss? (1984). She also picked up Emmy nominations for her role as Mona Robinson, a liberated grandmother in "Who's the Boss?", and as Lois in Everybody Loves Raymond (1996). Although Helmond was a bona-fide TV star since her "Soap" days, she continued working on stage in the 2000s and was acclaimed for her performances in "The Vagina Monologues".

Katherine Helmond was married twice. She had no children. She turned to Buddhism in later years. She shared her time between her home in Los Angeles and homes in New York and London.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

Spouse (2)

David Christian (1962 - 23 February 2019) ( her death)
George Martin (1957 - 1962) ( divorced)

Trade Mark (4)

Deep, sultry voice
Naturally red hair (dyed differing shades as she got older)
Frequently playing glamourous mothers
Scarlet red nail polish

Trivia (13)

Her parents, Joseph (a fireman) and Thelma (nee Malone) Helmond (a housewife), divorced before Katherine's fifth birthday.
Was nominated for Broadway's 1973 Tony Award as Actress, Supporting or Featured (Dramatic) for "The Great God Brown" (in 1976, the award name was changed to the more familiar and present name of "Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play").
She was the only actor to appear in all 88 episodes of Soap (1977).
Graduated from Ball High School in Galveston, Texas, in 1947.
In 1963, when she was 34, Helmond moved to Los Angeles, California to continue pursuing her acting career.
Although she was raised strictly Roman Catholic by her mother and grandmother, and attended Catholic elementary school, she and her husband, David Christian, were students of Zen (also known as Zen Buddhism or Mahayana Buddhism).
She did not have an agent when she started pursuing her acting career nor did she have any head shots. She used a sheet of paper and delivered it to agents until she got one.
Wore a red bikini on "Who's The Boss" when she was about 60 years old.
After her guest-starring role on Mater's Tall Tales (2008), she retired from acting at age 82.
Her husband, David Christian, was 14 years younger than she was. He was 19 and she was 33 when they met in 1962. They were together for seven years before they were married in 1969. At the time of her death in 2019, they had been together as a couple for 57 years.
She was nominated for seven Emmy Awards, four times as best (lead) actress in a comedy series for Soap (1977), two times as best supporting actress on a comedy series for Who's the Boss? (1984), and once as outstanding guest actress in a comedy series for Everybody Loves Raymond (1996), but never won. She was also nominated for Golden Globe Awards three times, winning twice, once in the best (lead) performance by an actress in a television series - comedy or musical category for "Soap," and once in the category of best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a series for "Who's The Boss?".
Although she considered herself retired as of 2012, she voiced two more roles (2014 and 2017), and appeared in one more movie (2018).
Was one of 3 cast members who appeared in all 196 episodes of Who's the Boss? (1984).

Personal Quotes (1)

The choice of roles as I grow older gets more and more limited, so if I pin myself to one kind of part I would get in trouble. So, these oddball ladies came along for me to do--I guess Terry Gilliam helped in this respect. I have found them more interesting, flashier and I get more mileage out of them. Many times, when a director reads a script and wants somebody who says "Far out", then they let me do what I want with it and that's usually more interesting for an actor.

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